Artwork is Copyrighted by the Artists
All Rights Reserved
Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Friday, May 28, 2010

Glade Mallow, Watercolor & Graphite by George Olson, US

Napaea dioica

Listing: Threatened, Minnesota

The Plant’s Story

This inhabitant of the tallgrass prairie and meadows along streams and rivers is included in the National Collection of Endangered Plants. Often found growing along railroad tracks, plants can occasionally reach 9’ in height when in flower. Its range, being ideal for farming, has been widely converted to cropland. Flood control projects and increasing shade are added challenges.

The Artist’s Story: George Olson

When I started to concentrate on prairie plants and grasses in the 1980s, I was living in northern Ohio. I discovered a restored prairie in Stark County surrounded by prosperous Amish farms. This prairie was small but it was well stocked with coneflowers, grasses, blazing stars, and silphiums, and in a moist creek bottom, a vigorous collection of glade mallows. As I became better acquainted with glade mallow as a subject, I was anxious to learn more about its history and ecology. I was fortunate to meet some of the scholars who had included it in their research. The first of these was Joseph Ewan, an eminent and widely published scholar at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our first meeting led to an opportunity to serve as artist-in-residence at the Garden in 1992 as a prairie artist. Working in the library, the garden and at the Shaw Nature Reserve was a real pleasure.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.